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Recovery Retreat January 7-9 in Berkeley, CA

. . .or still feeling the effects?

It's not the end of the world. Join us at a recovery retreat.
A workshop for letting go of religious indoctrination and reclaiming your life.
Led by Marlene Winell, Ph.D. , psychologist and author of Leaving the Fold: A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving Their Religion.
Berkeley, CA
January 7-9, 2011. Friday 5 PM - Sunday 3 PM.
Extra relaxation day optional: Jan. 9 - 11. Sunday 3 PM - Monday 3 PM
This weekend of healing and growth will be a powerful group experience with others who understand. Leaving your faith can create intense feelings of confusion, grief, anxiety, and anger -- but you are not alone. 

We'll spend time sharing stories and exploring key issues. We will also have activities, art, role-play, and guided visualization. And of course we'll have fun relaxing, enjoying good food, and making new friends. The place is a spacious retreat center in the Berkeley hills surrounded by trees and hiking trails. 

COST: $320 for the workshop, $125 for room and board. Total: $445
A deposit of $100 will secure a space. $25 discount given for full payment by Dec. 15, 2010. Financial need considered and options available. Be sure to inquire.

TO REGISTER or for more information: Send an email to
or call Marlene at 510-292-0509. Please feel free to call and discuss.

Register soon to save a place. Group size is limited to 8.
Retreat is in Berkeley, easy connections from San Francisco or Oakland airports.


Comments about the program:

“Loved it. The exercises combined with the discussions really created a dynamic experience for me. The openness and the welcoming atmosphere made it easy and comfortable for me to share my thoughts and emotions."

“Thanks again for a wonderful retreat. I will never be the same.:-)”

“Very helpful – did not expect to go through this weekend with such an intense reaction.”

"I found the retreats enormously helpful, with a wonderful group of warm people who had been through much of what I had been through. Marlene is a uniquely gifted leader and therapist who understands like so few do what it's like to be in the middle of the all-encompassing religious life many of us former 'born agains' lived in. I HIGHLY recommend will not regret it."

“I recommend this workshop to anyone who may be feeling alone in their struggle to sort out the religious abuses and indoctrinations of their life experiences. You'll find here a great community of support for your process." - Debra Thornley, M.A., certified applied poetry facilitator

"If you were once serious about your faith, but felt betrayed and left desolate by its empty claims, this is the retreat for you. We've all been there too." – Michele Lyerly, author of From Rapture to Revelation

“I thought the variety of activities was wise. It pushed people out of their comfort zones in different ways. Head, body, and heart . . I have a tendency to stay too much in my head."

“I see this as a powerful healing experience for most anyone recovering from fundamentalism. There are so few opportunities for people to talk face to face about the suffering that Christianity can cause or about the insensitive cruelties perpetrated in the name of God. Having others validate the experience creates a sense of confidence and clarity."

“I wish someone was doing your work and making fundamentalism recovery known in every city in the country! I would love to see you training therapists around these issues. “
- Dr. Valerie Tarico, author of The Dark Side

“I was excited at the opportunity to spend a chunk of time reflecting at the impact of indoctrination in my life.”

“Wonderful weekend! The tools, especially the monster/child/adult metaphor, and how to integrate and deal with it were very helpful. I enjoyed all the others: a talented, loving, real and compassionate group of people…I have been enriched.”

“A Release and Reclaim retreat is a great way to connect with others and reaffirm that you are not alone in your healing process. We were able to identify our own hidden issues through others stories.

“I especially liked the relaxation exercises. Your guidance finally helped me to relax. I actually started crying when I was finally able to relax. At first, the idea of an inner child and an “idea monster” seemed preposterous, but in the group setting, it seemed normal and proved to be powerful. Even though I considered the whole “inner child” idea dorky, I found it was powerful. You made it sound “normal,” so I was able to finally do it.”

“I felt the aspects of the book covered “live” in he group meetings – exercises ere the most key aspects. Child/monster/adult metaphor is apt and powerful. “

“Thank-you for this weekend. I am very excited about moving forward.”

“Thank-you for an excellent weekend. After the plane landed without incident (at home) - a new wave of strength came over me. I have since realized that my life is filled with promise and potential and that I have the necessary resources to make it (whatever it is) happen. Anyway, thank you again for both the on and off time - I enjoyed it all. With both feet out of hell. . .”

“I would come again without hesitation.”

"Your retreat really helped me out tremendously. It helped me gain clarity, focus, and to begin to really deal with the aftermath of my fundamentalist and cult experiences on a heart level, which was what I needed especially after working through everything intellectually."

"Speaking as a person who has attended three or so retreats organized by Marlene (intended to support the deconversion process), I would just like to say that attending a retreat, if at all possible, will be one of the smartest things you ever do. I was *very* scared to attend one. And it was really intense being at one of Marlene's retreats and confronting what I had been taught in Sunday school and coming to see it as the poisonous indoctrination it was. However, I am so, so, so glad I went and got help and had Marlene to talk with me and work with me. I know our economy is in a recession but if you have any inclination to attend one of Marlene's retreats, I can't recommend it highly enough. Super helpful! She's knowledgeable, organized, and healthfully irreverent. All the retreats I've been a part of have helped me tremendously.
 "- M.K.

"I can speak about these retreats first hand. I attended Marlene's retreat last summer. At the time, I had been doing a lot of reading. Intellectually, I was already an atheist. Emotionally, I was a real mess. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't suicidal or anything, I was just feeling a bit like Neo in the Matrix: everything I had been taught to believe was wrong.
What the retreat did and what Marlene and the other did, was give me the courage to trust myself and follow through.
 It has been six months. I am in a much better place.
"- C.R.

Comments about the group leader:

“Enjoyed your sense of humor. Really felt your connection with us. You created a safe environment for us with your unassuming approach and kind demeanor.”

“Marlene provides a supportive, nurturing environment to validate and affirm each participant, regardless of their stage in religious recovery.”

“I also appreciated your freshness and presence during the group sessions. It also helped when you shared about your own experience.”

“You understand, you love us through it, you give us real tools to use, you accept non-judgmentally, thank-you!”

“Marlene is skilled, intuitive and informed. She has a gentle but firm way of guiding a person through the healing steps and skill building needed for coping with the negative aspects of religious upbringing.”

“You were very empowering. I want to feel empowered rather than helpless and so many other programs (12 steps) make you feel helpless.”

"Marlene Winell is a gifted workshop facilitator who provides a safe, nurturing environment for healing work."

“Thank you so, so much for the work you put into leading the weekend. I know from my own experiences teaching weekend-only courses at my college that such a task is exhausting. Thanks for your buoyancy, organizedness, flexibility and articulateness. No mean feat when one is the leader **all weekend**.”

What would you like to say to someone
considering a future retreat?

“Be prepared for anything – keep it lighthearted whenever you can. Humor is a great tool for creating bonds between complete strangers. Keep it dynamic – all of these suggestions were present this weekend.”

“Take the risk…it’s worth it!”

“Come! You’ll learn how to relax and how to deal with that nagging inner voice – the idea monster.”

“The retreat is worth it. Lots of guidance and nurturance will be provided if you can just get yourself to the retreat. Get yourself to the retreat and much else will fall into place.”